AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals owner Mike Brown gave HC Zac Taylor a vote of confidence by announcing how “bullish” he was on the progress Taylor has made his first two seasons despite an abysmal win/loss record. Taylor told reporters what he likely tells Brown behind the scenes: that the Bengals are close to turning the corner in his third year in charge in 2021. 

“That’s enormous, I do appreciate that. Ownership has always been supportive. We communicate on a constant basis, which is critical in this league. And so, I do appreciate that because we do feel like we’re close to turning the corner,” Taylor said via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We have to win a lot more football games. There’s no doubt about that. We’re not running from that, but certainly we’re all excited to continue to great things here and looking forward to next season already.”

Browns

Browns OT Jedrick Wills and WR Rashard Higgins were cited for drag racing on Tuesday morning, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN. 

“We are aware of the incident, will gather more information and handle this matter appropriately,” a team spokesman said.

Wills admitted to his actions later on Twitter, but feels the situation is being blown “way out of proportion.”

“So nobody has ever tried to beat someone off the line at a red light for a max 30 meters? Ight.. Blowing it way out of proportion…” wrote Wills. 

  • According to the Westlake Police report, the two were pulled over just around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and cited with $124 tickets. The police did not specify how fast either was driving.
  • Police also conducted a probable cause search in one of the vehicles for a suspected marijuana joint but did not identify which vehicle, while neither were cited. 
  • Per BrownsZone.com’s Scott Petrak, Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said the recent COVID-19 diagnoses for himself, other coaches and players are a tough blow: “I’m disappointed for anybody who can’t be a part of this. Disappointed for Joel Bitonio obviously. We have to find a way. That’s what our charge is.”
  • Stefanski doesn’t believe there were any high-risk contacts from the last round of positive tests. (Petrak)

Ravens

  • The Ravens are hosting QB Kenji Bahar for a visit this week. (Aaron Wilson)

Steelers

The Steelers are poised to get some reinforcements off of injured reserve this week just in time for the playoffs, with OL Matt Feiler and LB Robert Spillane expected to be activated. However, the two might not return to the same roles. Feiler was starting at guard but fourth-round G Kevin Dotson has filled in admirably. Spillane will have to compete with veteran LB Avery Williamson for snaps. 

“The potential inclusion of those guys is exciting, but it creates some challenges from a decision-making standpoint because we feel like we’ve got some options,” Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s a good problem to have as we prepare to work this week.”

  • Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said he’s treating the wildcard playoff game like it could be his last: “I think every player should approach this game that it could be their last playoff ever . . . I know I am.” (Ed Bouchette)
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